Thursday, October 08, 2009

saying goodbye to very young children, (one more reason to read some john updike when you can)

Andrew, October 2008

Saying Goodbye to Very Young Childrenby John Updike

They will not be the same next time. The sayings
so cute, just slightly off, will be corrected.
Their eyes will be more skeptical, plugged in
the more securely to the worldly buzz
of television, alphabet, and street talk,
culture polluting their gazes' pure blue.
It makes you see at last the value of
those boring aunts and neighbors (their smells
of summer sweat and cigarettes, their faces
like shapes of sky between shade-giving leaves)
who knew you from the start, when you were zero,
cooing their nothings before you could be bored
or knew a name, not even your own, or how
this world brave with hellos turns all goodbye.

Perhaps it would be more fitting to just post photos of them from last year, photos that demonstrate how thoroughly they have changed already. But this is how they are right now (Andrew took the photo of Will himself), and in a few months time, the change will be plain enough for me.

Friday, October 02, 2009


On Marriage
A few weeks ago, Brigham and I had a conversation about remarriage after untimely spousal death (one of my worst fears--being replaced and forgotten by my tiny kids).

Brigham reassured me that he would not remarry. "But you would, I understand that. You are young and the boys are so little; you should remarry. Just don't remarry right away."

"No, Alexandra. I really would not. I mean, I would have girlfriends and everything, but I am not getting married again!"

So the conversation went from sweet to funny, and now, after weeks of thinking back over that it, hurtful. Brigham laughs at me and insists he was kidding. (Ha-ha, as Will now says after confessing to doing something against the rules.)

On Self-Love

We hosted some friends for the long weekend in September. The 6 year old girl had made a valentine for her father, which she left in the kitchen after they departed. Andrew found the paper heart and was immediately curious about it.

"Brinley made that for her daddy," I explained.

"Did she make it for me, too? I think maybe she made it for me, too." Pause, during which I don't answer. "Why does she love me so much?"

On Sleep-DeprivationWill has made a habit of waking up at 4am on the dot. I am sure that our response only reinforces the behavior: one of us (brigham) gets up and brings him, still screaming, out of his crib and into our bed. He immediately rushes for me, hugs me and kisses me and declares repeatedly, "Hi, Mommy. I love you so much." It says something about the state of affairs around here that this actually does get annoying, even the repeated lip-kisses between declarations of affection.

This morning, however, he did not stop screaming once he was in our bed. He thrashed and cried and warned us against rubbing him or singing to him. Our threats to return him to his crib eventually worked and he went back to sleep. When we both woke up at a more reasonable hour, I asked Will about his behavior.

"Why were you so mad last night, Will?"

"Because I just get so grumpy about it," he responded reasonably.

"Yes, but why? Why are you so grumpy?"

"Because I'm bad to daddy. Haha." Smiling. He is so sweet.